Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Dave Wendricks, president of highly rated Wendricks-White Plumbing in Waukegan, Ill., knows that many homeowners don’t protect their pipes during the cold months.
“There are a lot of common sense things people can do,” Wendrick says. “In extreme conditions, you may need to hire a professional, but [homeowners] can do a lot to prevent problems themselves.”
Kyle Kostelny, president of highly rated Dorenbos Plumbing in Chicago, says it’s important for homeowners to know where pipes are most exposed to cold air. These areas could need repairs if ignored.
“It’s not likely for unusual areas to freeze,” Kostelny says. “But sometimes the wind can blow just right and it can be cold enough to cause a problem.”
Wendricks says even the simplest of tasks can prevent a $150 to $200 service call to repair neglected frozen piping. He also says he believes a professional plumber should be called to apply heat tape to areas that have been problems in the past.
How to prevent your home’s pipes from freezing this winter
- Close any crawl spaces before winter. Cold air infiltrates open areas that lead to the home and may freeze the home’s pipes.
- Open cabinet doors from time to time to let warm air in. This will raise the temperature of nearby pipes.
- Use a fan to blow warm air from the basement into a connecting crawlspace.
- Run cold water at a trickle, especially when temperatures are very cold and there isn’t a lot of snow on the ground (snow can act as an insulator). Running water through your pipes will generate heat and prevent freezing.
- Disconnect any hoses from outside valves.
- Shut off outside valves on the inside of your home and then open the valve outside to let it drain any remaining water.
- Find where your pipes are most vulnerable. Learn the layout of your home’s plumbing and where pipes might be exposed to cold air. Pipes are most susceptible when installed in an outside wall.